6 Tips for Submitting to Turnitin

Turnitin is the leading plagiarism-detection service. It’s used by more than 30 million students across more than 15,000 institutions. Institutions using Turnitin request their students to submit their works into Turnitin for plagiarism detection and for lecturers to cross-check similarity sources and mark accordingly.

The following 6 tips will help the students to submit their assignments correctly and effectively without problems or unexpected issues.

PDF is Your Friend

When preparing their assignments, students occasionally tend to add additional formatting features using their preferred text editor to indicate important information and/or beautify the overall look and feel of their work. Formattings such as frames, shadows, or shapes might cause the Turnitin interpreter to not prase (understand) the submitted document properly, therefore, will cause an error in displaying the submitted document.

It’s always strongly advised to convert (save as) all your works as PDFs then submit them to Turnitin. PDF format is excellent in preserving all types of formatting in a light and portable way.

Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Google docs, and many popular text processors do have the option to save your documents as PDFs. Additionally, there are many online PDF converters where you can convert your documents to PDFs.

Last Minute Submission

Throughout the years, I have seen many cases of students missing their submission deadline because they waited until the last minute to submit their assignments. This is too risky as unexpected things might happen in that remaining short window. Internet connectivity issue or the student’s local server time is slightly unsynchronized and delayed from Turnitin’s time by one or two minutes. That might cause the student’s submission to be marked as late submission, or if the student has already submitted a draft copy, he/she will not be able to submit it again.

It’s a good practice to always try to submit your final assignments at least a couple of hours before the final deadline of your assignment submission to leave enough room for fixing any potential issues in connectivity and/or to avoid potential local and Turnitin servers time differences.

Turnitin Draft CoachTM

If your school, high school, or college is using Google Workplace for Education, they (if not already) can enable Turnitin’s Draft Coach for Google Docs. Turnitin Draft Coach is a very helpful product from Turnitin, comes with no extra charges for the institutions that have an active subscription with Turnitin.

To use Draft Coach, write/upload/copy-and-paste your work to your school or college Google Docs account. Then, from the Add-ons menu —> Turnitin Draft CoachTM —> Turnitin Draft Coach (Draft Coach needs to be enabled by your Google Workplace Administrator).

With Turnitin Draft Coach TM you can check the similarity of your work 3 times for every Google document. After the 3rd time, you can create another Google Document and use it to further check the similarity of your work for another round (3 attempts) after the modifications that you’ll do.

Understanding Similarity Report

Turnitin’s similarity report percentage by itself is not an indicator of plagiarism. It’s an indicator of how much your work is similar to others’ work. If you properly reference your work, you don’t need to worry much about the percentage. However, a high similarity percentage reflects poor academic work, as most of the text is copied (even if it was referenced) from another source.

Submission Digital Receipt

The submission digital receipt is your proof that you have submitted your work. It has your full name, Turnitin Paper ID (Paper Reference ID), the title of your submission, and most importantly the date and time of when you submitted your assignment. Rarely, due to some technical issues, you and your lecturer might not be able to find your submitted work. The digital submission receipt is your proof that you have done the submission. Turnitin support will use the information in that receipt to retrieve your work. So, always ensure to keep and save your digital receipts in a safe and easily accessible place, like your email or some cloud-based storage, like Google Drive.

Ways to get the Digital Receipt

  • After submitting your assignment to Turnitin, you’ll receive the submission digital receipt at your registered email address.
  • If you submitted your work to Turnitin via Moodle, you can download your digital receipt from “My Submissions” page. My Submissions page is the page that you used to submit your assignment in first place. You just need to click on View Digitial Receipt to get the receipt. Also, in this page, you can find the Turnitin Paper ID that will help to refer to your submitted work.
  • You also can get the Digitial Receipt via The Turnitin’s Feedback Studio by clicking on the donwlaod button located on the right-side vertical tool bar, then selecting Digital Receipt.

Multiple Submissions

You need to be aware of the following: If the multiple submissions option is allowed by your lecturer, you can submit up to 3 times and you’ll get the similarity report within a few minutes. However, on the 4th submission and onward, you will get the similarity report only after 24 hours from the latest submission. So if you need the similarity report, and you have already submitted 3 times before, submit your next submission at least 24 hours before the due date.


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